Thursday, August 4, 2011

Competitive Cycling is a corporate venture. Part 2: Afterthoughts

Afterthoughts: From the editor

After posting about the relationship that exists between competitive cycling, the snob, and the top median wage earner that only buys the top end, I would like to share some additional afterthoughts to this "bike rant".

If the top end of cycling equipment is available to you without having to give up your college education, and is within your budget, then by all means have the best if you can afford it. Keep in mind that long term investment in such high end equipment will end up in more high end expenses. A hobby can become an obsession to have the "must haves" in cycling goods. I will give an example. I ride allot, I have had saddle sores more times than I would like to talk about, but I have never used this "Chamois but-r" people so generously love to soak the inside of their spandex's in. I mean, the thought of having a bunch of cream in my pants isn't at all appealing to me. But that is now a "must have" among competitive cyclists. The retailers and corporations will try to sell this product to you as "essential", along with the 10,000 dollar bike and all the accessories.

At first people don't realize that they already bought into the corporate scheme. Many new cyclists haven't touched a bike in years. They are easily convinced that this is what they have to do by today's standards. That an aluminum road bike just won't cut it in a criterium if it doesn't have a carbon fiber fork, even then it's "sub-par". That your vintage ride isn't good enough to get you around as a commuter, and that you need egg beater pedals on your mountain bike (that although fun, can also be dangerous if you haven't ridden a bike in a while. Platform pedals  and shoes with grippy soles work just as well).

What ever happened to just riding a bike? How are cyclists supposed to increase in number and eventually contribute to the environment if cycling continues to be perceived as an elitist venture? How are more people going to get on a bike this way?

A number of things are just wrong with this picture and need to be addressed. Bikes need to be more affordable to everyday working people. They need to be fun too. People need to feel like a million bucks even if they don't have a million bucks to spend. People also need to quit nitpicking about the details (components, brands, etc.,etc.). Otherwise local bike shops and specialty stores will leave all the fun to the people's markets (Walmart, Costco, Sears). Everyone deserves to have a good bicycle of good lasting quality that fits them. Most adults have outgrown the bicycles that are sold at these department stores.

Another afterthought. Average speed is overrated. I personally can average over 18mph in a distance of 25 miles. in a distance of 10 miles I average almost 20mph. And so on, and so on. I rest my case.

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